The Best Christmas Events in Dallas For Teens and Older Kids | Dallas Observer

The Best Christmas Events in Dallas for Teens and Older Kids

When your littles are too old to sit on Santa’s lap, it might be a bit harder to get them into that holiday spirit. But there are plenty of events for older kids and teens.
What better way to see the best Dallas lights than in a bus made of lights?
What better way to see the best Dallas lights than in a bus made of lights? Courtesy of I See Dallas
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There’s no denying this time of year has a special magic. But when your littles are too old to sit on Santa’s lap, it might be a bit harder to get them into that holiday spirit. That's why we’ve assembled the perfect mix of teen-approved adventures to help even the Scroogiest offspring get super excited for the holidays.

I See Dallas Holiday Tour

Through Dec. 23
6448 E. Mockingbird Lane

If driving a complaining crew around town to peep lights isn't your cup of tea, why not outsource the experience to I See Dallas? Cari Weinberg and her husband, Mark Roberts, transform an old ten-seater school bus into a light-adorned party vehicle each year to view the best and brightest mansions in the Park Cities. Patrons aged 8 and up can meet in the parking lot at the Lakewood Growler to board the bus for the nearly two-hour tour, which is guaranteed to pop by creative and original displays such as the Icicle House, Rocket Ship Santa and the blow-mold Santa extravaganza known as Wayne's World.

Christmas at the Star

Through Dec. 16
12 Cowboys Way, Frisco

If your teen is way into sportsball (and what kid isn’t?), Christmas at the Star in Frisco is a fun way to celebrate the season while showing how much they LOVE them ’Boys. Held every Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. at Tostitos Championship Plaza, the seventh annual Cowboys Christmas Extravaganza features a guest appearance from a different player every night. There’s also a “magical lineup” of gameday performers, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, and a holiday music and pyro show synched with original Christmas tunes that’ll spread that spirit across the North Texas sky.

Piñata Workshop

Dec. 16
6200 E. Grand Ave.

Master piñata maker Alfonso Hernandez has brightened events from local weddings to the State Fair with his museum-worthy sculptures. To celebrate the season of giving, the East Dallas-based creative is sharing his skill set with a lucky few in a three-hour No Limit Arts and Crafts workshop at the Samuell-Grand Recreation Center, 1:30–4:30 p.m., on Dec. 16. Book by emailing [email protected] — the $120 entry fee will get you a pre-built piñata plus all the tools and materials needed to build it. The fee allows you to bring two assistants or guests, so it's the perfect activity for arty teens and parents to share. But be aware anyone under 18 needs a legal guardian in tow. Choose from Rudolph's Bumble or the Grinch and get ready to paint and glue your way into the holidays!
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It's not Christmas in Dallas until the Spree jubilees.
Mike Brooks

The Polyphonic Spree

Dec. 15–16
1925 Elm St.

The Polyphonic Spree have conquered Christmas with their annual holiday concert for two decades and are expanding their annual concert to two nights at the Majestic Theatre this year. But if you haven’t been since your kids believed in Santa, it might be time to revisit this bacchanalian tribute to all things Christmas. With live animals, costumed revelers and a raucous pre-show lobby party, the experience must be seen to be believed. We’d describe it as if you took a serving of the holiday spirit, mixed it with 10 Red Bulls, added about 8 million squares of confetti and a couple of hundred balloons, then put it in a microwave until it exploded. When lead singer Tim DeLaughter passes a plastic Santa out over the crowd, it feels totally pagan, like some Saturnalian ritual. And that’s something even the grouchiest teenager can smile about.

Wreck the Halls

Dec. 16 and Dec. 30
701 Taylor Drive, Plano

If the darker side of Christmas is your teen's jam, Dark Hour haunted house in Plano can add some scares to their visions of sugarplums with Wreck the Halls. Dark Hour director Alan Hopps is super passionate about monsters, so he's sourced a fantastical gallery of holiday-themed horrors, including Sugarplum fairies, twisted toymakers and murderous snowmen.

"I think monsters are an underutilized tool," he says. "There's a whole class of nursery bogeys that we've made to keep us safe, and we should carry those traditions on. Santa has a habit of hanging with a really bad crowd, so we have all kinds of winter monsters like Bellsnickles and Schnableperchten, who have giant bird heads and carry around giant scissors. If you're bad, they cut your insides out."

That's one way to get 'em to do their homework! Because it wouldn't be the holidays without Santa's evil BFF, Hopps (who happens to be the founder of North Texas' Krampus Society). There's also a Krampus photo op and toy drive as part of Dark Hour’s holiday market from noon to 5 p.m. on Dec. 9. The free event benefits Toys for Tots and will include strange and unusual gifts to buy, along with plenty of Christmas creeps milling around to keep things festive.


Through Dec. 30
5752 Grandscape Blvd., The Colony

If your teens are the type who are always SO BORED omg, The Colony’s Grandscape is the perfect place to keep them engaged while you cram in a little last-minute shopping. On Dec. 3, the complex offers a holiday vendor market and movie marathon that should keep kids of all ages engaged. There’s an early-morning Jingle Run 5K Dec. 9, which teens can enter, followed by a live DJ. But considering this entertainment complex also includes a Ferris wheel, escape rooms, putt-putt golf courses, indoor go-karting and a new Great Big Game Show experience, we say let the kids go wild while you have a well-deserved glass of wine in one of the area’s restaurants.


Through Dec. 30
2251 Mineral Wells Highway, Weatherford
Since the organizers of last year’s Frozen event in Frisco said “Let it Go” to the whole thing, Radiance! at the Ranch has kept the celebration in Weatherford this year. Still, there are two miles decked with two million lights to tickle those optic nerves in this drive-through experience. Pair it with a little time spent in and around the adorable courthouse square, as this Texan town possesses all the small-town charm the holidays call for.
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Six Flags has performances and s'mores this Christmas.
Courtesy of Six Flags

Holiday in the Park

Through Dec. 31
2201 E. Road to Six Flags, Arlington

Prefer your light show with some added thrills? Six Flags' annual Holiday in the Park layers on the s'mores, crafts and caroling to the standard array of thrill rides and shows. If your brood ranges in ages and tastes, this is the Christmas experience with a little something for everyone, from mean teens to little kids who still believe in Santa.

The Light Park

Through Jan. 1
1800 E. Lamar Blvd., Arlington
and 7300 Rough Riders Trail, Frisco

If your spawn recently got a driver's license, there's no better place to practice a hairpin turn than the drive-through Light Park. A great holiday solution if you're not feeling being around massive crowds of people, your baby driver can roll on with a carful of revelers, order some popcorn and tool through a tightly arranged maze of lights. Timed to go with a tuned-in soundtrack on your radio, the ride is mercifully Mariah-free. And if you choose the Arlington location, why not pop by the ultra-campy Campo Verde Tex Mex restaurant on Pioneer Parkway when you're done? The 40-year-old establishment has over 500,000 dazzling lights, 55 Christmas trees and a 260-foot train track surrounding the entire space. Waiting time to get a taco can be up to two hours, so go early in the evening or plan a visit after the holidays slow down — the lights will stay up until March.
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Kids these days just seem to bark at their parents. Cheer them up at The Light Park.
Courtesy of The Light Park


Through Jan. 7
The Galleria, 13350 Dallas Parkway, No. 1020

Whatever the weather, you're always walking through a winter wonderland at Snowday in the Galleria. This ultra-adorbs immersive experience lets visitors stroll through an old-timey Elvish alley, dance on the ceiling in an upside-down living room or strike a pose inside a snow globe. New this year are a candy cane café, Santa’s spaceship and a gingerbread tunnel. And if there are still wee ones in your crew, don’t sleep on a side trip to Santaland. A comedic conductor takes you on a “train ride” through a snowy forest to the man in red’s workshop — a pain-free waiting experience for impatient parents and fussy kids alike. Visitors get a wristband they can scan at photo ops, and pictures are sent via a link at the end of your tour. That way, Dad can finally be in the shot instead of always being stuck behind the camera.
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